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November 08, 2010

Post-Election Spin: Republicans Better Suck Up To Hispanics Or They Are Doomed! DOOMED!

There's a lot of this going around but this story in Politico is as good a representative of the genre as any other.

Hispanic voters saved the Democratic Party Tuesday — buoying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, keeping California blue, playing an outsize role in preserving the party’s Senate majority and demonstrating a partisan loyalty Democrats didn’t exactly earn in two years of inaction on immigration policy.

But that support is anything but certain for 2012, and both parties face difficult and immediate choices when it comes to the Latino vote as they position themselves for the presidential election. Democrats face open demands from Hispanic leaders for a reward for their votes. President Barack Obama could erect a Western bulwark for his reelection campaign by — as Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) suggested to POLITICO — pressing for broad immigration reform in the lame-duck session. But immigration could also prove, like health care, a polarizing, impolitic detour from the economic issues preoccupying voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, were carried to power by a conservative base that is, if anything, even less open to compromise on immigration — or anything else — than was the last Congress. And they head into the 2012 election cycle risking the same pattern that sunk Meg Whitman in California: a primary campaign that drags candidates to the right on immigration, only to find that they can’t plausibly return to ask for the support of Hispanics in November.

Ok, let's take a look at those two races cited in the story...

Sharon Angle didn't lose because she didn't get enough Hispanic voters, she lost because she didn't get nearly enough white and women voters. She vastly underperformed with those groups compared to winning GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval easily won his race against Rory Reid 53-41%. He won whites 62-32 and women 50-46. He lost Hispanics to Reid 64-33 (even though Sandoval is of Hispanic heritage himself).

Now take a look at Angle who lost to Harry Reid 50-45%. She won whites 53-41 over Reid but that significantly underperformed Sandoval's 30% margin. She lost women to Reid 53-32, again under-performing Sandoval by a significant margin.

When it came to Hispanic voters, she lost to Reid 68-30. Angle was more or less in the neighborhood of Sandoval’s vote with that group and in line with the 34% of the Hispanic vote Republicans won nationally.

What was more fatal to Angle, the white vote or the Hispanic vote?

Why no stories about how Democrats in Nevada have a 'white voter problem'?

A quick look at the California numbers shows that Whitman got about as much of the Hispanic vote as Firoina, which is to say not much at all (30 and 28 percent respectively). Funny but even with her “maid” problems Whitman still did better than Fiorina with that group.

California and Nevada Republicans did under perform the average but that alone doesn't explain their loses.

What hurt Whitman and Fiorina was the simple fact they were Republicans running in a deeply blue state (about 42% of the California electorate were Democrats and only about 30% Republicans).

I'm not saying Republicans don't have to figure a way to craft their immigration message in a way that doesn't turn off Hispanic voters, clearly that's a smart thing to do. Of course, they have to be careful not to lump all "Hispanics" together (Marco Rubio cleaned up with them in Florida but Cuban and Mexican/Central American are only lumped together by idiots but it's the metric that is used). Also, assuming Hispanics are motivated solely by talk of ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ is myopic at best and at worst simply wrong.

We should be careful however when our ‘friends’ in the liberal media tell us all out troubles (if you can call anything from last week troubling for Republicans) boils down to the need to adopt liberal programs. It turns out they don’t really have our best interest at heart.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:19 AM

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